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463rd Bombardment Group  / Unfriendlies
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Fliegerabwehrkanonen  (FLAK)

Flak was an abbreviation for Fliegerabwehrkanonen, German for anti-aircraft guns. At the beginning of the war the Flak arm of the Luftwaffe was nearly a million men about two thirds of the total Luftwaffe. At its' peak in the fall of 1944 there were approximately 1,250,000 men and women in the Flak arm, approximately half the total Luftwaffe.

The most common heavy Flak weapon was the 88mm. This was a multipurpose weapon that served well as an anti-tank gun, artillery gun and Flak gun. The Flak 88mm required 10 people to operate it, later in the war this would be reduced to 8 people and it could fire 15-20 rounds of minute to a maximum altitude of 35,000 ft. For most of the war the heavy Flak weapons fired time-fused high-explosive shells. The Germans were unable to develop a workable proximity-fused shell. In 1943 controlled-fragmentation rounds were introduced for the 88 's. These rounds had grooves cut on the inside face of the casings, when the charge detonated the case broke up into a smaller number of larger fragments. This fragmentation round was far more effective against heavy bombers than the regular high explosive rounds.

A Flak battery was laid out in groups of two or three groups of 6 guns. Later in the war these were increased to 8 guns in each group. With the entry of the Americans into the daylight bombing raids and the increased pressure of night bombing raid the Germans would group two or three Flak batteries together with a single command post directing them to engage one target.


Messerschmitt Bf 109E

Powerplant: 1200hp Daimler-Benz DB 601N 12 cylinder inverted Vee engine.

Performance: Maximum speed 370mph / Service ceiling 36,000ft / Range 550 miles

Armaments: One 15mm fixed forward-firing cannon in engine installation / Two 7.92mm forward-firing machine guns in fuselage

Focke-Wulf 190A

Powerplant: 1700hp BMW 801D-2 14 cylinder two-row radial engine

Performance: Maximum speed 408mph / Service ceiling 37,000ft / Range 915 miles

Armaments: Two 20mm cannon in the wing roots / Two 20mm cannon in the leading edges / Two 13mm machine guns in fuselage

Messerschmitt Me 262

Powerplant: Two 1984lb Junkers Jumo 004B-1/2/3 turbojet engines.

Performance: Maximum speed 540mph / Service ceiling 37,500ft / Range 650 miles

Armaments: Four 30mm fixed forward-firing cannon in the nose



463rd Historical Society
Art Mendelsohn Jr.
P.O. Box 1137
La Canada, Ca. 91012